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Mill employee's death may give rise to wrongful death lawsuit

An East Chicago, Indiana, business has agreed to pay a $7,000 fine levied against it by a state safety agency for its role in the accidental death of an employee. According to the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the 62-year-old employee died as the result of scalding while working for ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor.

The report findings of the accident say that the man was working alongside another employee at the mill as the pair attempted to make repairs to a brine pump on Feb. 8. The two workers were in an area of the mill called the West Boiler House Water Treatment area when the accident occurred. According to OSHA, the deceased victim was trying to reach a valve situated on the far side of a sinkhole. Due to the precarious location of the valve, the victim was forced to attempt to reach the valve in an unsafe manner. Unfortunately, the man fell into the sinkhole due to limited visibility. The hole was described as being eight feet in depth and filled with scalding water at the time of the accident.

The 62-year-old victim was immediately taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center. He died later from his wounds on March 20.

The OSHA findings said that the mill failed to adequately set up railings alongside of the sinkhole to prevent workers from accidentally falling into the hazard, or have someone around to monitor the sinkhole.

Family members of people killed as a result of preventable accidents may be entitled to sue for loss of companionship. Although no amount of money can replace the loss of a loved one, there is still justice in obtaining compensation for the wages the victim might have earned over the course of a lifetime. A wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the decedent's estate could go a long way toward restoring a sense of normalcy to the lives of loved ones shattered by the loss of the victim .

Source:  Post-Tribune (Chicago Sun-Times), "Mill fined $7,000 in worker's death," July, 7, 2014 

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